Meditation :: An oasis from everyday stress
It’s the beginning of a new year, and among the many new year’s resolutions, there is one that many of us should consider choosing … reducing stress.
“Stress was once essential for survival,” explained Stephanie Stevens, M.D., acting medical director for Hospice of the North Shore. “The ‘fight-or-flight’ response gave primitive humans the adrenaline surge that enabled them to either battle for their lives or escape out of harm’s way. Our bodies have been physiologically hardwired to have that fight-or-flight reaction when we feel stressed. However, when we face repeated daily stress, and don’t take the time for relaxation, our bodies suffer. In fact, there’s been a link established between chronic stress and some illnesses.”
“Meditation is very helpful to try to reverse those fight-or-flight reactions, switching off the adrenaline surge that accompanies continuous stress. Meditation allows the body to become calm and still. Your blood pressure will come down, your heart rate will slow. As a result, certain physiological changes happen that support health and wellness, reduce pain, decrease muscle tension, reduce irritability, improve sleep and boost the immune system. A U.S. News & World Report story indicated that meditation can even lower blood sugar in diabetic patients,” added Dr. Stevens.
Meditation can be as simple as sitting quietly and just focusing on a candle flame or sitting at the beach and watching the waves roll in. Both help you stay right in the present moment, which is usually not stressful. If that concentration is allowed to continue long enough, it will create beneficial changes in your body, which most people are able to feel right away.